As scientists who work in the field more than most, geologists spend time examining the earth’s processes such as volcanoes, floods, earthquakes and landslides. They study the earth’s materials including rocks, minerals and water. Geologists find employment with oil and gas companies, Federal and State agencies, private research firms and universities.
The level of education required for a career as a geologist is as follows:
Twenty-eight states require that geologists take an examination and acquire proper licensure in order to work.
Geologists collect field samples, analyze data and prepare scientific reports. They examine rocks, minerals and fossils to determine the sequence of processes. A number of career paths exist for geologists. They act as researchers, field scientists and consultants. Geologists locate mineral and petroleum deposits as well as water sources. They also teach at the university level.
A geologist could perform any of the following tasks:
Geologists can find employment within an array of opportunities such as with consulting firms, the oil industry, the Federal and State government or private laboratories.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, geologists can expect an 18% increase in employment over the next decade, which is higher than average. These statistics don’t include teaching or university positions, which aren’t uncommon for geologists.
The average annual income for a geologist is around $79,000, per Federal government statistics from 2008. Overall, wages range from around $42,000 to over $155,000.
Petroleum and mining industries offer the greatest income potential but also provide the least amount of job stability.